Nigeria: Authorities admit shortage of health workers in Public Hospitals
By Mohammad Ibrahim
Nigeria's Ministry of Health has admitted that there are shortage of healthworkers in hospital which directly or indirectly is responsible for maternal deaths across the country.Presently Nigeria lose about 500, 000 infants annually on pregnancy related conplications while about 4 million maternal and infants deaths are recorded annually globally.
Nigeria is among countries with high rates of maternal and infants mortality rates in the world.Federal Ministry of Health Representative, Mrs. Temitope Bombata at a dissemination meeting with stakeholders on the NationalTask-shifting policy held in Kaduna northwest part of the country said the shortage of health workers has created a gap and thepeople are suffering hence the need to bridge the gap.She explained that the task shifting policy have been identified by the government as panacea to addressing the acute shortage of health workers in the country.
She equally cleared the air about the perception of nurses who thinks thetask shifting, Community Health Extension Workers, CHEW will take over their jobs, saying no one is taking over anybody's job. "Task shifting is not a replacement for, or a designto slow down the development of a professional training. It is merely anemergency measure necessary to ameliorate immediately the current awfulsuffering of our people."The goal of task shifting or sharing is simply to get the right workerswith the right skills in the right places doing the right things.
It is theprocess of enabling additional cadres of health workers to provide specifichealth intervention," she said. Representative of the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, Director NursingServices, Dr. Salamatu Washiri admitted acute shortage of health workers inthe state.
She said Kaduna has a total of 1068 functional Primary Health Centres PHC facilities but only 426 out of the facilities provide Family Programme FP due to manpower constraints."For those providing the FP services, majority do not have adequate staffstrength to cover MNCH services. Most PHCs providing FP services generallyhave just one nurse as the FP Officer/Provider.The present staff distribution is affecting FP service provision adversely. Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Primary HealthcareDevelopment Agency, Dr. Hadizah Balarabe said even with the lowdistribution of health workers, the rural communities are allowed to sufferas health workers abandoned the area for urban areas.
"In addition to low availability of health workers, distribution is alsoskewed towards developed countries and urban areas. Meanwhile, 50% of theworld's population lives in rural areas."In addition to mal-distribution, certain other factors have been known toencourage attrition or migration: low remuneration for existing workers,poor working conditions and low motivation," she said.
Earlier, Technical Advisor of Pathfinder - Dr. Jaiyeola Layi said objectiveof the meeting was to arrive at a consensus with stakeholders on theadoption of the MNH and FP components of the policy and also to establish atask team made up of relevant stakeholders to drive the operationalizationof the policy in Kaduna State.